A little piece of heaven... Zion National Park (Alaskan dude)

Utah's best National Parks

17th February 2011

Weird geology, wild rivers and tight canyon – welcome to Utah's best National Parks

BEST FOR… Taking in epic views

With its vast, winding canyons carved out of the rock by the Green and Colorado rivers, Canyonlands has views to rival – or even beat – the Grand Canyon. Convenient viewpoints line the park roads, or venture into the wilderness of the Needles or the Maze districts for dramatic vistas without the sound of a single car engine.

BEST FOR… Checking out rock arches

To view the largest concentration of rock arches in the world, head to Arches National Park (where else?). Over 2,000 tall, wide, fat – and often precariously thin – arches sit alongside fins, spires and other oddities. The Devil’s Garden loop and the easy walk up to Delicate Arch can get busy, especially during summer.

BEST FOR… Photographing sunset and sunrise

The giant basins of hoodoos (tall, spindly rocks) in the popular, accessible and pleasantly strange Bryce Canyon National Park take on a fiery glow at dawn and dusk. Sunrise Point and Sunset Point make it pretty easy to find the best spots for pictures, although there are plenty of other, quieter viewpoints.

BEST FOR… Leaving the crowds behind

The desert landscapes around the town of Escalante, in the vast Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, are littered with relics from local Indian tribes and old-time cowboys. They’re not here now; neither’s anyone else. This is remote wilderness, perfect for pin-drop silent hiking.

BEST FOR… A piece of heaven

The Mormons renamed one of the state’s most beautiful and greenest areas as Zion National Park, Zion meaning ‘the heavenly city of God’ or ‘place of refuge’. The adventurous can hike up Angel’s Landing, but there are plenty of shorter, more sedate walks around the river valley.

For more information on Utah's National Parks check out issue 118 of Wanderlust magazine available to purchase in the Wanderlust shop

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